The summer solstice June 21 slid by on a cloudy chilly day with buckets of rain on the Eastern Shore of Maryland so that I barely noticed the longest day.
As summer officially begins, the light starts to retreat as the earth tilts slowly away from the sun, at least in the northern hemisphere. Whatever the vagaries on the surface—politics, wars, elections, hurricanes, coups or celebrations—the earth moves imperceptibly beneath our feet.
For me, June before the solstice meant a week in Chicago with book events, significant for my new novel Burning Distance and for an interview with Lisa See about her new novel Lady Tan’s Circle of Women and an energized discussion with novelist Sara Paretsky about censorship and banned books, the latter events at the American Writers Museum.
On this trip, I fell in love with Chicago, a city I’ve visited before but never for as long a stretch. Walking along Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park with detours down to the Chicago River and up to the rooftop of London House, I passed (and contributed to) a musician on almost every street corner playing the sax or French horn or violin or music from a box. I had a soggy sprint to an opening night of a new musical at the Goodman Theater.
While the earth spins beneath us, Chicago reminds us to enjoy the moments—cold or hot, windy or still, pouring rain or bright sun (sometimes all in the same 24 hours)—and to enjoy the music.
The song heralds: “Bet your bottom dollar, you’ll lose the blues in Chicago.”
And the universe echoes back!